the duggars

Duggar Daughters: Josh Was ‘a Young Boy in Puberty and a Little Too Curious About Girls’

Robert Wagner And The Duggar Family Visit
Duggar daughters Jessa (left) and Jill (second from the right). Photo: D Dipasupil/Getty Images

Friday night brings the second part of Jim Bob Duggar’s interview with Megyn Kelly, and in a new preview clip, the Duggar patriarch insists that his daughters Jill and Jessa have forgiven their elder brother Josh for molesting them when they were small children. “The girls have totally forgiven Josh and gone on,” Duggar tells Kelly. “Our family has definitely gotten to the point that there’s no bitterness,” he adds, thanks to the family’s emphasis on Christian forgiveness. “Forgiveness is not something you feel like doing, it’s really a choice. When people wrong us, you say, ‘God, I choose to forgive this person.’ And sometimes people come back and ask for forgiveness and sometimes people don’t. It’s important just like Jesus was hanging on the cross, he said, ‘Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.’”

Of the scandal that has erupted since In Touch made Josh’s history of abuse public, the Duggar patriarch says people are judging Josh too harshly for his youthful mistakes: “Josh is now a wonderful husband, father. He’s a godly man. Sometimes there’s young people that make mistakes, they get involved in alcohol and drugs and different things in their youth. And then they get treatment and they get therapy and they go on and they become very great people.”

Transcripts from the interview obtained by People appear to support Duggar’s claim that his daughters have forgiven Josh for touching them 12 years ago. “Josh was a boy, a young boy in puberty and a little too curious about girls,” Jessa, 24, reportedly tells Kelly. “And that got him into some trouble. And he made some bad choices, but, really, the extent of it was mild.”

In Wednesday night’s interview, Jim Bob Duggar admitted that Josh molested four of their children, as well as a babysitter, emphasizing that most — but not all — of the touching was done “over their clothes.”

Another transcript of the second half of the interview obtained by Us Weekly saw Jill and Jessa speak out against the family’s critics. “I do want to speak up in [Josh’s] defense against people who are calling him a child molester or a pedophile or a rapist,” Jessa reportedly tells Kelly. “I’m like, ‘That is so overboard and a lie really.’ I mean, people get mad at me for saying that, but I can say this because I was one of the victims.”

According to People, Jill and Jessa are adamant that their parents had no hand in their defense of Josh: “This is something we chose to do,” says Jessa. “Nobody asked us to do this.”

Duggars: Josh Was ‘A Little Too Curious’